The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC minister Torre Huffines. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to email@example.com.
The Summer Solstice is a time that is heralded by the vibrancy of nature and fecundity of life. Where once there was only the budding seed of spring, there is now life fulfilled in summer. The Sun and its powers of nourishment are, no doubt, an inherent aspect of all that we are as a living part of the natural world. It is so fundamental to life that it plays a primary role in all spiritual traditions (typically in the form of a major deity). The sun was deeply revered for its cyclical nature as a cosmic rhythm of time and life. The Summer Solstice is one of such moments during the year where we surely honor the ascendancy of light and the indomitable heat that often accompanies the season. However, there is one vital aspect to this period that goes understated, and that is the symbolic death of the sun.
Many aspects of the natural order of life have evolved alongside civilization, yet our regard for the sun as an ultimate source of energy has never diminished even as scientific knowledge has progressed. Its insight has shown us the influential role that stars fulfill in the universe as well as their seemingly endless lifespan. Additionally, the sun was used by ancient civilizations to create the first systems of time-keeping. Through a relationship of time and light, the spectrum of eternity starts to take shape for us. The ancient mind of the primal world began to see the cyclical pattern of light and life and naturally came to see the sun as the source for everything else deemed sacred and fruitful. The sun's power came to adopt the oversight of time which included the seasons and their many traditions. While the sun still emanated the eternal power of light over vitality, it now also included the transformations that take place through the field of time measured in daylight here in the physical, mortal world. This leads us to the next point; The power of transformation.
In Christianity, Fire and light are closely tied with the image of the divine power. In Greek mythology, Sol Invictus embodies the unconquerable sun. In ancient Egypt, Horus contained both the sun and moon in his eyes. Each one of them embodied the everlasting and eminent powers of light and life. Yet there is something else to each story of these all-powerful and radiant beings. In each case, we not only witness the “birth” of light in Christ, Horus, and Sol Invictus (with so many more corollaries). We also see their death and resurrection. How do figures related to the eternal sun and everlasting power of life also become an image of death? This is where the summer (and winter) solstice create meaning for us as spiritualists. In each case, we see that the cyclical nature of light brings forth life as the sun is born each winter and grows into its own vitality throughout spring, conquering both life and the field of time in summer. By the time of the Summer Solstice, the mythological identity of the sun has evolved from a dwindling, wintry light into a full blazing source of warmth and vitality. Yet it is also at this point that sunlight begins to recede until the sun is once again born anew. This pattern shows us that transformation uses the power of life and death to create what comes next into being.
The constellation of events between the different traditions of the world help us grasp a broader truth in spirituality and life. Everything moves in cycles. The symbolism of the sun on a spiritual level shows us that eternity is truly a cycle of life, death, and resurrection moving onward forever. With each new life comes a deeper understanding of who we are and of the world around us. this cycles teaches us that the sun will only shine as bright as it once did through transforming its self into something new. Likewise, we should allow that which no longer serves and clouds our own light to be left for dead in the process of our own transformation. In doing so, we allow our own rebirth to take place.
With global warming, the summer solstice has kind of lost its luster. One day soon, the sun will destroy all life on planet earth.
My decision to be ‘ordained’ was both a lark and a pointed statement. The lark needing no explanation other than to be able to say ‘I can marry you, I am ordained!’ and the point’s being roughly being that ‘orthodox religion’ should not have a stranglehold on the lark’s activity.
Reading the posts on this site it seemed to me that there were others that perhaps were also thumbing their noses at organized religion. Although I never gave it deep thought, I rather much thought that would be purpose of this ‘service’. But I discovered there seem to be a non-trivial number of ‘true believers’ that take their online ordination into the ecclesiastical brotherhood very seriously, but I will avoid delving any further into their other traits.
But I expected there would be a third type and Minister Huffines has stepped forward as an example. I read the post quickly, then again a bit more slowly. It’s my opinion that the ideas put forth in this Secular Sermon sermon justify a third reading third and subsequent thought.
Thank you for your thoughts, Minister Huffines.
It’s just another day.
Yay! Summer Solstice. Always a fun time to reflect upon the lazy hazy days of Summer, especially for all the Pagans out there. I'm sure Carl will be having a tipple, 🍺 and celebrating in the warm summer sun, and dancing skyclad somewhere. Woohoo!
Cakes and Ale Carl?
Beautifully written. Hope you had a blessed summer solstice